A loud & pronounced call for 4 more years in office
Pierluisi rallies support for 2nd term from rank & file, public officials
By Richard Gutiérrez
With election season on the island moving ever closer, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia announced his re-election bid on Sunday during an event at the Pedro Rosselló Convention Center in Isla Grande, just four days after Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón made her primary challenge to his incumbency official. The support the governor received during the morning event was immense considering the number of people in attendance, which indeed shows that many have been satisfied with the first two-thirds of Pierluisi’s four-year term. More than just the New Progressive Party (NPP) faithful from different municipalities, the public figures who attended the event were significant, counting among their number mayors from all over the island who support the governor and plenty of public servants.
The convention center was brimming with NPP energy, people shouting and cheering the entire time. Hundreds of people from all over the island attended the event, with some towns even providing public transport. Attendance was such that televisions and seats for people to watch the event were provided, and even outside the convention center there were giant monitors for people to watch. The center’s stairs were filled with people watching as well.
“I hereby announce my candidacy for reelection to continue serving Puerto Rico!” the governor said as he arrived with hundreds of people cheering him on.
In his speech, Pierluisi reciprocated with cheers of his own for the people in attendance.
“I took a step forward … to lead Puerto Rico into progress and statehood, which is our guiding light. In two years and nine months we have stabilized the government’s finances and we have secured the reconstruction of Puerto Rico,” he said as people cheered “Four more years!”
“Today I file my candidacy for re-election, because I am part of a team, an NPP team, and a statehooder,” the governor continued in his message. “A team of progressive men and women who, together with me, work shoulder to shoulder for Puerto Rico. And we all need four more years to continue the work.”
“Those who do not recognize your work and sacrifice should not come and ask for your vote,” Pierluisi said. “It’s easy to say things with your mouth! I value and am proud of the work of our NPP public servants. I demonstrate it with my actions, and they will always count on me. Together we are the NPP team.”
One of the many public figures on hand, San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero Lugo, declared his strong support for Pierluisi.
“There are 400 days left before the elections!” the mayor said. “That is a very short amount of time, only a little over 13 months. We are here alongside a great person, who has been there for Puerto Rico, not only through the hardships of the island but also during the hardships of the New Progressive Party, and he said ‘YES,’ he said ‘Here I am,’ he said ‘I want to work for Puerto Rico.’ He is a person who has represented Puerto Rico with dignity as an extraordinary resident commissioner. He has shown with his actions that when the NPP governs, Puerto Rico progresses.”
Romero added that the governor responds positively to the capital city in every aspect.
“We rescued the city from disaster and abandonment and we have given it back the shine it deserves!” he said. “We’ve had a governor that has been present and through every one of his agencies responds well to San Juan.”
The San Juan mayor was not the only one with a speech on Sunday. Gabriel Dávila Hernández, president of the Puerto Rico Mayor’s Federation, which groups NPP mayors, and one of the 26 mayors at the event, said “Pedro has been a governor who has been in constant communication with all the mayors … of the island.”
“He’s been this communicative with NPP mayors as well as with mayors from other parties, from all 78 municipalities,” Dávila Hernández said. “That is why we the mayors … have come here to support Pedro Pierluisi.”
“We have to remember that back in 2021, all pensioned retirees were in danger of having their pensions cut,” he added. “We can safely say that today, our governor made sure there was not a single pension cut.”
NPP Vice President Sen. Thomas Rivera Schatz pointed out that “all senators who form a part of the New Progressive Party are here.”
“What is the purpose of our party, what is the purpose of serving Puerto Rico? It’s to reach our goal, statehood,” he said.
Apart from the speeches, NPP founder and former Gov. Luis A. Ferré’s widow, Tiody de Jesús-Rosa de Ferré, celebrated Pierluisi’s reelection candidacy on stage as well, along with Pierluisi’s sister, Caridad Pierluisi, who serves as director of the Office of the Governor.
Why does a portion of the population want to vote for Pedro Pierluisi so much?
“I am supporting Pedro Pierluisi for four more years because we have seen the changes and the work being done on the island,” said Daniel Cotto, a supporter of the governor. “We have seen the progress that has been made, and we cannot stop it now.”
Another supporter, Nancy Herrera, said: “People may be against LUMA, but LUMA has been working hard despite all the controversy.”
“The streets have been fixed and the pay raises to public service providers all speak of his work well done,” she said.
Popular Democratic Party President Jesús Manuel Ortiz González emphasized the González Colón challenge in his response to Pierluisi’s announcement later on Sunday.
“The primary struggle in the NPP is confirmation that the priority for them is their struggle for power and not the well-being of the people,” the opposition leader said.
“Both Governor Pierluisi and Resident Commissioner González are part of the same bad government that has run Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria,” Ortiz González said in a written statement. “Unfortunately for Puerto Rico, they are only interested in their personal aspirations. They care little about the quality of people’s lives.”
“Puerto Rico will not be better with Pierluisi or Jenniffer. We will be better off when the government focuses on attacking energy costs, invests recovery funds wisely, takes repairing schools seriously and stops deceiving people with its politicking,” he said. “In November 2024, the country will pass judgment. We are going with new strength to present alternatives for Puerto Rico.”